Working The Steps

Working the steps…the backbone of our recovery. I call them the “perfect parent.” I call them that because if we had ideal parents they would have taught all these steps for learning to deal with life. Unfortunately, my parents rarely took the time to interact with me. So learning about integrity, spirituality and “living life on life’s’ terms” I only learned after I came into recovery. The steps were my “teacher” and as I humblely became the student. My education started February 2005 with step one which took me a year to complete. I was not a dutiful student until my first year was finished and I got a new sponsor. Then I was guided weekly through the last eleven. I thank my sponsor for his guidance and support. His experience proved over and over again to be an invaluable resource. Going through step two and three got me on my way deep into my spirituality.

Step four allowed me to give up the shame I was so entrenched in, while step five allowed me to be courageous. Step six taught me about my underlying causes, while step seven taught me how to ask for support. Step eight helped to see the effect I had on others, while step nine showed me how be very humble. Step ten showed me I wasn’t perfect, didn’t need to be perfect, but allowed me to take responsibility for my actions. Step eleven brought me closer to my higher power and step twelve taught me the word “fellowship.” All in all I become a different man because of the steps and believe in the them wholeheartly. I know they are the reason I lead such a blessed life and encourage everyone to follow through on your journey.

8 thoughts on “Working The Steps

  1. lj–once again, thank you for your insights–you serve as a real inspiration to me in my journey through this program–listening to you share your first step last Sunday at the fort Lauderdale meeting was a deeply moving and (again) inspiring moment for me–I sat and thought, “if he has the courage to share–so can I” and so i will share my first step on 7/12/09–it is with some fear, anxiety and trepidation that i go forward with this, but i go forward, knowing my friends in this program will be supporting me the whole way–as I read your blog up above, I think of my parents and how they fell short in their parenting of me–a huge contributor to my subsequent sexual addiction–ultimately, I can only think on them with love, knowing in my heart that they did the very best they could with what they had to work with at the time–knowing they gave me all the love that they were capable of, which was a lot! too bad they didn’t have a program like this one that was always there to embrace them, love them, guide them, accept them–today I am grateful for this program, to you lj, to my sponsor and to all of the brothers and sisters in the program—janine

  2. If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, then you are ready….
    The first step in my journey was very difficult for me. Facing myself with honesty and sincerity and accepting what I had done was very painful and heart wrenching. I had to search my soul and deal with the demons that tried to rip it from me. The shame and guilt caused me to have many sleepless nights but I persevered and dealt with everything straight on.
    I’m not sure what the rest of the Steps have in store for me but I’m willing to go to any length to get it.
    I’m ready for Step 2 now and look forward to embracing my Higher Power.

  3. It seems to me that one major thing we addicts have in common is that we have used our addiction to cope with life, usually with disastrous consequences. We somehow never got the tools we need to deal successfully with life on life’s terms. This is certainly my experience. When I came in to recovery and started going to meetings, I spent a lot of time listening to the shares of everyone trying to find the best role model. The people who appeared to have the most serenity and long-term sobriety seemed to have one thing in common: they had found sponsors and were working the 12 steps.

    I decided to take the suggestions of those brothers and sisters who seem to have achieved some success in the program, and I got a sponsor and started to work the steps.

    Little by little, mostly with baby steps, I began to pick up the tools that have helped me learn to live a sober life one day at a time. I have worked through the steps nearly twice now. It’s taken me 9 years. I can honestly say that whenever I take the time to work through an exercise or an assignment that my sponsor has suggested, I get new insight into how to live my life without my addiction, and the results are usually a lot more better.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not perfect, and never will be. I’ve had my share of backsliding when my addict rears it’s ugly head and I start thinking and doing things the old way. When this happens, the old fears and resentments, and the delusion that I am in control start driving how I think and act. But now I have many more tools to recognize what is happening and to get back on the right track.

    I thank my higher power daily for the gift of the twelve steps.

  4. At a meeting recently we shared about “wisdom” and the difference it holds from “knowledge.”

    I have been in my program for more than 3 years now and I can recite the 12 steps from memory (knowledge), but it has only been from working them, that I have gained the “wisdom” that the steps have provided.

    I love the idea that the steps are a kind of “parent” because to me they are. My parents were/are wonderful people and my dad always told me to learn from other peoples mistakes because I would never live long enough to make them all myself. If that is the case, the steps give me a chance to learn from all the right things that others have learned along the way, and to use them in my life. Not everything will work for me all the time, but I now have many examples of experience, strength, and hope to choose from that I will not have to live forever to get better. I only have to live for today, and work my program (the steps) and be willing to learn the lessons that my Higher Power presents for me each day.

  5. I had this disease long before it ever had a name. When it was brought to my attention that I could be a sex addict, by my significant other, I immediately launched into denial. I stayed there for some time, until I gave up trying to control it.

    So I came to a meeting, then another, then another. I found out that there were things about my inner-self I did not know about. The steps of this program have been an educational tool for me to learn about the disease as well as about myself.
    First they helped my realize and accept my feelings. I had no idea that it was okay to have such feelings without wanting to medicate to get rid of them.
    Secondly, the steps have helped me to understand some of my defects of character that have helped to mold me into a SA. How I choose to deal with these defects could very well dictate how my recovery will progress.

    More steps ahead and more learning to come….as long as I am willing to be here to take it in. WE ARE ALL PART OF THE STEPS. I need all of you…you are the glue. Keep Coming Back.

  6. Working the steps, for me, is a learning experience, much like going to school. I learn a little more about myself with each journey I take in the program.

    The rewards are small, but with each reward I seem to lose a bit of the old “self” and replace it with a new renewed “self”. I will never forget the person I used to be and don’t want to. I want to remember my mistakes, my bottoms, my shame, my guilt, and all the lies. I have not been long out of the maze and so it could be so very easy to slip back into that wrong pattern of behavior again. The steps keep my train on the track by slowly re-wiring my perception of my life and where I’m going.

    Some steps, for me, require constant attention and re-visiting. Just to complete a step and forget it will not work for me. I need to be constantly vigilant in my honesty and willingness. I made a significant leap forward in getting in touch with my spirituality in the first few steps, but I have seen it sliding away as I concentrate on steps further down the path. I have to take the learned connection and feed it with what I am learning now. It is all connected eventually. A whole person with a healthy attitude and realistic values. Living each day for that day and not running from the past. I shall keep constantly alert and aware of what flunking out of this school can mean.

  7. Working the steps has been a great experience for me. Granted, it has taken me over two years and I am just now on Step 8. But I know there is no race. As long as I am moving forward in my program I know that I am ok. But I do know that I need to keep it moving and not rest on any laurels. So, towards that end today my commitment is to do some step work every day, even if it is just 5 minutes. When I do step work I am reminded of who I am as an addict and a person, I am reminded of what my life was like before I came into recovery and I am reminded of what my life would be like if I do not continue to work my program and relapse. In doing my step work I am growing spiritually because I am getting to know myself more and I am allowing myself to be open to the process and open to whatever my Higher Power puts in front of me. It is not always easy and sometimes I do get triggered. If that occurs, I usually call my sponsor and I step away from what I am doing so that I stop whatever thoughts might be going on in my head. But then I can come back to the work the next day and proceed safely. The beauty of the process is that I can get out what I need to get out, even if it has to be little by little, but it still gets out. So, yes, Step Work has been a great experience and will continue to be a great experience and I look forward to completing the steps sometime in the near future.

  8. The 12 Steps are pretty incredible. All of the important things we didn’t learn as young people are included there, Thank God!

    Recognizing that it is a common problem for us to retain dysfunctional habits we learned as children, and keep using them long after they have become toxic.

    Step 1 teaches us that we are powerless to change these habits and that because of them, our lives have become unmanageable. Oftentimes we don’t even recognize them as toxic behaviors. We have to learn that they conceal a form of insanity, and how many insane people know they’re insane? We must recognize the insanity, and then be courageous enough to ask for help.

    Step 2 – we come to realize that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. Here is where we recognize a clear path out of our helplessness – we must ask our Higher Power, however we conceive it, to restore us to sanity. We acknowledge that we cannot do it alone.

    Step 3 suggests we turn over our lives to our H.P to handle our unmanageable lives and cure us of our disease. This surrender is the key to recovery.

    I feel that the first 3 steps are the foundation of recovery. Whenever we get confused, or have doubts about what to do next, these steps are the reminders that we need to keep us on the right path. The others are also tremendously important, but I find that the first three, keep me committed to recovery, and remind me that there is no other way than this. And thank God, our group and our sponsors for that revelation!

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